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Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Headwaters of the Uwharrie River -- Hiking and caching the ATV trails

Small tributary leading into Uwharrie River
Here in North Carolina the weather has gone from winter directly to summer. Where is the spring? Not to be slowed down by the sudden wave of hot weather, sumajhuarmi and I left home early in the morning to find a cluster of geocaches in the woods near Trintiy, NC. The drive to the location only took about 20 minutes. We found the recommended parking, locked up the car and headed into the woods with our walking sticks, liquids, swag bag and GPSr. We trekked to the first cache, a micro in the woods. Rock' en Falls (GC1P1MR) was along a creek which is the eastern tributary giving birth to the Uwharrie River. The Uwharrie River flows south into Montgomery County and through one of my favorite geocaching areas, The Uwharrie National Forest. It is a great place for hiking, biking, caching, camping, boating. You name it. Our North Carolina Geocachers Organization has held at least one event there too. So here we were caching the very headwaters of this important river just south of High Point, NC. We descended the hill to the creek, crossed on the rocks at a small waterfall and began the search. Even with the clue this one took us a few minutes to find. sumajhuarmi went back and looked in places I'd had my hand before and came up with the cache. I'm so glad she comes along on these trips with me! It had been almost a year since this one had been logged. It was in great shape and well-hidden.

sumajman at Rock' en Falls
We trekked south along the creek until we came into sight of some fancy houses a few hundred meters up the hill from us on the east side of the creek Our next cache took us in the opposite direction. We climbed up from the creek towards the distant backyard of a lone house. The dogs were making a lot of noise so we moved quickly to find Home Sweet Home (GC1PJY9) a small, easy cache about .20 from the barking dogs. This one had also gone almost a year without a find.

We moved back to the creek, crossed it and started up a well-used All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) trail. I suspect that weekends are busy out here with ATVs running all over the place. Today we had the woods to ourselves. We climbed up the hill in search of Got Dynamite? (GC1EDRN). As we crossed the crisscrossing ATV trails we made our way up to some large boulders. As we searched for the "dynamite hole" we had a little bounce in our signal. Finally we found it. The hole ran from the top surface through to the bottom of a large rock. The top hole was covered with a rock. Once I lifted it I could see through to the bottom where another rock blocked the base of the hole. When I removed that rock there was the rather large bison tube. This cache had not been found in almost 14 months but was in great shape. We signed the log, took a few pictures and headed on for the rest of the caches.
Got Dynamite? 

Within the Bark (GC1Q0VR)
Within the Bark
was a nice, easy ammo can in the woods. It was just sticking out of a small whole in the tree truck on the opposite side of the ATV paths. We pulled out the log and signed it. These caches didn't have much worth trading, although this one provided me the opportunity to drop my signature item (a stick crayon from Ecuador) for a small key chain). Yep, it had been 14 months since this one was last found. 

We moved on to the most challenging of the caches of the day. Introduced, Then Despised (GC1W0P0) turned out to be a hard one. We trekked up the hill into an area full of dead kudzu vines. I suspect that they have sprayed to kill them out. We crossed this area using the ATV trails. On the other side we found that the chemicals had not been used. Kudzu survived in a corner of the area. That was our GZ. We marked off the location,
Upper eastern Uwharrie tributary and Kudzu world
dropped our packs and started the search. It was not easy going as the stuff was thick. We looked into some openings in the kudzu, apparently made by other caches in the distant past. It had been 14 months since this one had been found too. We walked out and walked back in with the GPSr. Based on only a slight change in our GZ we extended our search area out and poked through all the obvious places. There were slight signs of past geo-trails but none led to the cache. After about 45 minutes sumajhuarmi called it dead and we packed it up and moved on. I suspect it is there, just well-hidden. I later logged the DNF nonetheless.

Now where did we leave the car? sumajhuarmi had asked me if I marked the location of the car before leaving it. I hadn't. That is an important thing to do when traveling in unknown woods. I had left the closest cache to the car in the GPSr so I was confident I could find the car. We picked up two more caches along the way out. Guiding myself by the location of our first cache I was able to find the trail leading out to our car. This unnamed woods and unnamed creek crisscrossed with ATV trails provided us with a fun geocaching experience. Apparently the area isn't frequented much by many geocachers. I'm not sure why. I recommend it to all my Triad Ceocaching buddies!

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